Rachel Tambling

Associate Professor


Educational Background:

PhD, University of Georgia
MA, Western Michigan University
BS, Central Michigan University


The Marriage and Family Therapy Program is no longer accepting applications, and Dr. Tambling is not seeking new advisees for the 2018-2019 academic year.


Dr Tambling’s Research Interests:

Researchers in the field of couple therapy have long been interested in understanding for whom therapy works and why (Pinsof, Wynne, & Hambright, 1996; Sprenkle, 2003). Despite research efforts, couple therapy researchers continue to report high incidences of early termination from treatment (e.g. Pekarik, 1992), poor outcomes for some couples (Jacobson & Christensen, 1996), and relapses after brief periods of improvement (Shadish & Baldwin, 2003; Sprenkle, 2002). As many as 75 percent of clients who seek therapy fail to benefit from services and in most instances the people who benefit the least from therapy are those who need it the most (i.e. ethnic or religious minorities, lower SES couples and families, individuals with severe mental illness). Many researchers and clinicians have called for research that addresses the factors that contribute to clients’ engaging in and benefitting from therapy in an effort to improve effectiveness and reach out to clients who are most in need of counseling services.My research meets this need, by specifically focusing on client engagement and client processes of change during therapy. I have identified factors critical to engaging in and changing during therapy, such as couples’ expectations about therapy and the therapeutic process, motivation to change, couple distress, and processes of change during therapy. By understanding the components of effective engagement and change during therapy, researchers and therapists are better able to address client needs and improve treatment outcomes. My research has also increased the availability of therapy to populations who typically do not access or benefit from therapy, thus, improving well-being and health of these vulnerable groups.


Clinical Outcome and Process Research Lab:

Together, Drs. Anderson and Tambling run the Clinical Process and Outcome Research Lab. Studies conducted in the lab focus on bettering our understanding of the process and outcome of therapy. Specifically, Drs. Anderson and Tambling seek to understand how engagement, retention, alliance, and other therapy processes contribute to outcomes in therapy. Past projects of the lab have included a study of the content of therapy talk turns, an observational study of alliance processes, and several studies of therapy outcomes.

Drs. Anderson and Tambling often work together as an advising team. They are currently accepting new students and seek students who have a strong interest in clinical research. They seek students who have a desire to become scientists who conduct research with integrity, rigor, and sophistication. A particular interest in clinical process and outcome is preferred. Students can expect close contact with their advisor, and should be willing to contribute to research in the Lab. Students will learn about clinical research and will have the opportunity to publish and present with Drs. Anderson and Tambling.


Rachel Tambling
Contact Information
Phone860 486 6111
Mailing Address348 Mansfield Road, U-1058 Storrs, CT 06269-1058 USA